Less Heroes


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Date of Submission

Fall 2022

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts

Project Advisor 1

Richard Suchenski

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Arlo, 21, attempts to place a car topper on the roof of his 2003 Toyota on his first day on the job as a pizza delivery driver. He struggles with finding exactly the right placement and steps aside to make sure it’s perfectly even. Jill, 18, enters the frame with a bass which she puts in the back seat. She sits in the passenger’s seat just after Arlo has finished maneauvering. “Can you put that thing on after you drop me off?” She asks. He takes the embarrassing car topper off and drops her off outside the concert venue. The two siblings depart and their they venture into their nights, facing different struggles that come with learning how to navigate adulthood.

Jill receives a smiley face sticker on her hand from Nina, 22, Arlo’s best friend who works as a bouncer outside the venue and handles tickets. “I’m front row in spirit,” Nina comforts Jill. Jill enters the venue and her band, “More Heroes” are setting up their instruments. Jill stares at Nat, 22, the bass player with friendly eyes, and smiles giddily. Nat, doing her eyeshadow, gets up and sits right next to Jill. “Does this look okay?” she asks as her knees touch Jill’s. Jill has never been this close to Nat’s face, and looks at her closed, sparkly eyelids. “Uhm, I think you could… use a little-” Nat places the eyeshadow in Jill’s hand. Jill takes it and dips her finger in the shadow. She carefully applies the eyeshadow on Nat’s face. She wants to do a good job.

Arlo is seen driving and delivering pizzas. He becomes increasingly frazzled, trying to navigate through the streets of Los Angeles and deliver one pizza after another. This is harder than he thought it would be.

“I’d like to plae an order for delivery,” we see Nina say on the phone outside the venue. Jill is performing her first song and seems to be getting into the groove of her concert.

Arlo pulls up outside the venue and hands Nina a large pizza. He storms inside, sweaty and scrambled. He sees his sister singing their most energetic song, and he lights up. She sounds confident and this makes him beam with pride. All of the sudden, he gets a phone call. He steps outside, his boss is scolding him for missing a delivery. He darts back to the pizza shop.

Jill and her band have finished their set and Jill is mustering up the courage to ask out Nat. “I was wondering if you wanted to do something tonight, with me,” her voice shakes but her eyes are wide with hope. Nat casually replies that she’s going out to drink with friends. “Do you have a fake?” Jill says no, and Nat leaves abruptly to hug her friends who are much older than Jill. They are congratulating Nat on her performance. Jill stands there for a long moment, feeling isolated after Nat’s cold interruption. She turns around and begins packing up her bass. Nat comes back, “are you coming?” Jill’s romantic attempt was completely misinterpreted. At this point, Jill knows that Nat has no interest in her. Jill swings her bass over her shoulder and walks out the bar.

At the same time, we see Arlo leaving an interaction with a customer, looking completely defeated. The siblings’ nights are separate, but connected in feeling.

Jill eats Nina’s pizza and they stand against the wall, in silence. Jill looks defeated. “Can I get a ride home?” Jill asks. They sit in Nina’s car for a while. Nina knows something is wrong, and decides to tell her that Arlo had her order a pizza just so he could come see her perform. Jill cracks a smile for the first time in a while.

Nina drops Jill off and Arlo pulls up at the same time. “I thought you were done at twelve,” she asks. He get out of the car, nauseous, and has vomit all over his clothes. “What happened?!” she asks. He had thrown up in front of a customer, and in the car. He storms in their house, and Jill cleans up her brother’s car with a bowl of soapy water and a rag.

Arlo eventually comes out and sits on the front porch. Jill walks over and sits next to him. “So, no tip?” she jokes. Clearly, he is not in the mood. “I just wanted to do a good job.” She suddenly feels sorry. “How was your thing?” he asks. “Eh.” Jill notices the smiley face sticker, still on her hand. She finds it ironic after the way both of their nights turned out. Jill rips the sticker in half and stares at it for longer. She places one half of the sticker on Arlo’s hand. “Pizza wasn’t bad, though.” They sit together in silence after a long night and enjoy each other’s company.

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